Whilst animal-source foods (ASF) are sources of good quality protein and bioavailable micronutrients, their availability, accessibility and quality are often compromised in urban informal settlements of developing countries. We conducted mixed methods research to investigate the role of local livestock value chains in enhancing nutrition of Nairobi slum dwellers, the drivers of ASF demand and challenges and opportunities for its supply, to inform nutrition-sensitive food system-based interventions.
We surveyed 205 households and 222 retailers in two slums to 1) measure consumption and anthropometry and hemoglobin levels of women and children; 2) examine ASF role in adequate diets using linear programming (Optifood); and 3) investigate livestock value chain linkages with nutrition. For each ASF, consumption patterns, acceptability factors, demand elasticity and availability (expansion potential of value chain) were combined to identify target chains.
41.5% of children were stunted and 74% anaemic; 29.0% of women were overweight and 26% anaemic. Both groups had inadequate intakes of several micronutrients. Optifood analysis indicated that ASFs were key to ensure dietary adequacy, for nutrients such as calcium. Demand for beef was mainly driven by taste and had medium sensitivity to changes in its price; its supply chain had limited expansion potential. Fresh milk demand was mostly driven by nutrition and very responsive to expenditure changes; its supply chains expansion potential is higher (more quantity available, and of higher safety).
Sustainable healthy diets require innovative nutrition-sensitive food-system thinking. We show the importance of the value chain approach to assess feasibility and upscaling of safe interventions holistically.